Divorced Parents and Navigating FAFSA
If you’re reading this in the fall or winter seasons, it’s likely that parents all around the country are scurrying about college campuses, attending long information sessions, and collecting stacks of pamphlets. These tasks can be time-consuming, but they pale in comparison to the stress of applying for financial aid.
In order to qualify for most forms of federal financial aid, students must first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (aka FAFSA), which may be difficult to complete even in the best of circumstances. The experience is draining and tedious for the vast majority of people. Divorced parents may already be puzzled about how their separation may affect their child’s eligibility for financial help. Read on to learn crucial information about the process of applying.
Expected Family Contribution is a Big Deal
When it comes to applying for college financial aid, the primary residence of the student is one of the most important factors to consider. This is crucial because the parent who must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (the beloved FAFSA) is the one with whom the student has spent the most time within the previous calendar year.
The difference in total financial help may seem small, but there are many instances where it makes a significant difference. For the purposes of the FAFSA, a father’s income is disregarded if the child resides with his or her mother for the majority of the year and with the father for the remainder of the year. This may not always be a major issue, but in some scenarios, it can have far-reaching consequences because of expected family contribution (EFC).
EFC is the amount that your parents are expected to contribute toward your college expenses based on the information you and they supply. If parents are divorced and don’t live together, a student only needs to disclose the financial information for one of them to calculate EFC. This means that if a student chooses to live with a parent who earns less money, they may be eligible for a much more generous financial aid package.
Be Sure About Primary Residence Timing
For FAFSA purposes, the calendar year is immaterial; thus, it may seem obvious that the child lived with one parent more than the other. For purposes of the FAFSA, a parent’s earnings from the previous calendar year are all that matter. Take extra caution when doing the backward calculation to see which parent should complete the FAFSA in light of any recent changes to the custody arrangement, if applicable.
Taxes Have No Bearing on FAFSA
Some separated or divorced parents have difficulty navigating the tax system. Some people believe that the financial aid application must be completed by the tax filing parent. There is no connection between the person claiming the child tax credit and the person filling out the form; The primary caretaker is the only factor considered by FAFSA in determining eligibility.
How Remarriage May Affect Financial Aid
Finally, if you’re a divorced parent with a college-aged child, you should know that remarriages might have a potentially significant impact on your child’s financial aid award. This is due to the fact that when a parent remarries, their new spouse’s income and assets will be added to those of the original spouse. The fact that this is worth remembering does not mean you can’t move on with your life and get remarried, but it is something you should be aware of.
Divorce Attorneys in Arizona and The Phoenix Metroplex Area
When marital issues direct your thoughts to the possibility of divorce, ordinary activities become more complicated. Whether you’re reading this in anticipation of a divorce or you have another family law question, we are here for you. You want an action plan with the greatest likelihood of success. Our results oriented-team will help you develop a legal strategy that resolves all outstanding issues in the most favorable manner possible. We will apply our talents, experience, and extensive resources to advance your specific goals, given the circumstances and applicable law in your case.
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